Lunch Break

It’s been a busy day today. Lots going on at work. I’m trying to squeeze in a lunch break, but it started half an hour later and it’s been interrupted once already.

Last night I was dreading coming to work today. I think everything that went on over the weekend, with my aunt’s funeral and my parents health situations, was starting to really weigh on me and I didn’t feel up to anything. Now that I am neck deep in work I am sort of glad I didn’t call out because I would be swamped tomorrow. Still. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. Not completely overwhelmed, but a little overwhelmed. I’ll manage.

I’m having a little trouble with lunch today. My stomach is a little unhappy. I had a little trouble with breakfast too. It’s the first time in three days or so that I haven’t eaten just protein bars for breakfast and lunch, so maybe that’s part of it. I’ll manage.

In good news, I asked the kids when they were starting their Thanksgiving break and it turns out they have all of next week off. I figured they would still have school right up to the day before the holiday, but nope. Harry said he’s coming here on Friday. How awesome is that? We don’t have Bellana’s schedule yet, but they go to the same school so she’s off school next week too. The question is, will she be off work too. However the cookie ends up crumbling, it’s going to be awesome to see the kids. I can’t wait.

Sunday, five days from now, will see the final episode of The Walking Dead on the air. I watched the second to last episode while doing my exercise yesterday. I was hoping my favorite zombie podcast would release it’s recap episode today, because it always releases on Tuesday, but nothing yet. The only Walking Dead podcast I have in my feed is two guys who constantly bitch about how they don’t like the show anymore. Why do I bother following them?

Did I mention that I’ve shot a little film over the last week or two? I took dad’s camera with a roll of cheap black and white film around town last weekend, and then this weekend I figured I was going to get to the church early for the funeral so I brought it with me and took a couple of exterior church shots for happy thoughts. I think I have 9-10 shots left on the roll. Where should I shoot next? When should I shoot next? It was 25 degrees out this morning so methinks the days of going out before work are probably over for a while.

Okay. lunch is wrapping up. Time to get back to work.

Good day.

A Trend(?) That I Hate

Begin rant.

I listen to a lot of podcasts while I work. I have seen a thing happen a few times on a handful of different pods and I think it’s becoming a trend and if it is a trend I friggin hate it.

The podcast runs for an hour or so. Good content, decent content, okay content, whatever. That part is irrelevant. The podcast comes to an end and they play some music to mark that the episode is over. That’s okay, in theory, but they don’t fade out. They just play an entire piece of music all the way through.

STOP DOING THAT. When the podcast is over, I want to listen to the next podcast in the queue and I can’t effing do that if you are going to play some random Tommy Friggin’ James and the Friggin’ Shondells song for five minutes.


End rant.

Don’t Forget the Water

I was listening to a hockey podcast this morning. It was three hockey writers shootin’ the breeze. They veered off topic and started talking about the pros and cons of real vs fake christmas trees.

Shit, thought I, I forgot to water the christmas tree yesterday.

The downside of putting up a real tree right after Thanksgiving is you have to be extra careful about maintenance. If you want to have a green tree on christmas morning then you better keep it watered. Otherwise Santa will be putting presents under some dead, ugly, brown thing with needles all over the floor.

I’ve also listened to a couple of amateur musician podcasts today and the topic of discussion in each one is the Get Back documentary. They all agree with me. Despite being 800 hours long, that movie is absolutely magnificent. It’s just an utter delight. Where else do you get to see the creative process where Paul McCartney literally wills the song Get Back into existence? That song didn’t exist at all until Paul sat there, strumming on his bass, forcing it out of his head. It’s just magic. It was genius at work. Literally.

One little item that I didn’t really catch had to do with Paul. For huge swaths of the movie the band is playing like shit. There’s so much noodling and farting around, whether it be all of them together, or just one or two, or whatever. The question was posed… in all of that mountain of playing… do you ever hear Paul play a bad note? I need to watch the whole thing again, but right now I can’t recall anything. So not only was he pulling super classic music out of his ass, over and over again, he is also playing so well he seems incapable of doing anything that doesn’t sound right. Hell, he’s even playing his Rickenbacker bass at one point and one of the strings pops out of the nut and lays against another string, and he’s still playing great. How is that possible?

Okay. Back to work. I had a deadline moved up on me and the pile of stuff I thought I had two days to do suddenly has to be done today. Enough of my yakkin’, let’s boogie!

Lunch Break

Twice in the past when my foot was hurting like hell I had two different people suggest a stretching exercise that should help.

  1. Roll up a towel
  2. Put your foot on the center
  3. Take the ends in your hands
  4. Keep your leg straight
  5. PULL

It has worked for me in the past. I am not sure if it is working for me today, or if the fist full of Advil I took about five hours ago is working, but one of those two is working and my foot feels a lot better. It still hurts, but it’s manageable.

I’m on my lunch break. I’m listening to podcasts discussing Rick and Morty. I’m eating a bowlful of M&Ms*.

What to do, what to talk about.

I have a candle burning. It is going to burn out soon. Does that mean that I’ll start a new candle tomorrow and do a time lapse from the very beginning? Wait a tick… what if I did a time lapse on a new candle and didn’t shut if off until the candle burned out. It would take days, but the iOS app would reduce the whole thing down to less than a minute. How epic would that be?

There is a new episode of Marvel’s What If…? today. Last week we were able to do a watch party with Harry. I don’t know if we’re going to try that again. Partly because I heard a rumor that tonight’s episode will be Marvel Zombies and Harry doesn’t do zombies. He’s also in his second week of college and by this point he should probably be dealing with 3+ hours of homework each night.

Okay, time to start the dishwasher, check on the dehumidifier in the cellar, and go back to work. Maybe do that stretching episode for a minute or two too, then back to work.

*Does anyone else take bags of M&Ms, pour them into a bowl, and then eat them one color at a time? Am I the only one? Is that a sign of a defective brain? AbyNormal, as the movie implied?

Lunch Break

I’m on my lunch break. What’s going on?

Podcasts… What’s the deal?

MacOS used to have its podcast functionality baked into iTunes. At some point recently (was it the current MacOS or the last one? I can’t remember) they spun it off into its own application. It sucked. Like… bad. It sucked bad. The interface is terrible and nearly impossible to use. Discovering new podcasts… can you even do that? I don’t know. It just sucked.

iOS and iPadOS had their own standalone podcast apps. The two are virtually identical. There’s a screen thing here and there that is a little different, but the two of them are basically the same. That app (I am going to refer to the two as if they are just one app on different platforms. Hey, it’s my post I can do whatever I want. FREEDOM!) was never good. In fact, it was always pretty crappy. It was, however, a work of absolute genius when compared to the MacOS app.

Something happened recently. I don’t know what. I heard the Grumpy Old Geeks podcast talking about it a few months (I think) ago, but I am still not sure what happened. Whatever it was, it took the two mobile platform podcast apps, stabbed them in the heart multiple times, cut their heads off, and flushed all the bits down the toilet. It is absolute garbage now. Nothing viewable has changed. The interface is exactly the same. It’s just the performance that has more or less overnight become unusable. The Apple mobile podcast applications are now as useless as useless can be. Crap-tastic. Crash-tastic. Terrible. Garbage.

They are so bad that I am currently listening to podcasts while I work via the MacOS podcast player. I have my MacBook Pro streaming through the HomePods in my bedroom. I’m using the awful Mac version… that’s how bad the mobile versions are.

There are new versions of all three OS’s on the way. I am hopeful, though not optimistic, that improvements are coming.

Come on, Apple. Let’s fix this. You are making my work day more annoying than it needs to be.

I am Bad at Predictions

More proof that I ain’t no prophet, right?

In the last post I wished everyone an easy Friday at work. Within 10 minutes of punching in this morning I got hit by a metaphorical bus known as one of our biggest customers. Everything is under control now, but yikes, eh?

Why does Apple’s podcast app suck so bad? Specifically on iPadOS. It keeps crashing and losing it’s place and what the hell, bro? I already listened to that Loki Episode 2 podcast, I don’t want to listen to it again, and I was halfway through this other Loki Episode 2 podcast so why are you starting from the beginning again? Also, where the hell are the new episodes of podcasts I subscribe to? They aren’t all a day late, are they? Come on, Apple. You want to lose to some crap fest like Stitcher? Or, heaven forbid, Spotify? Crud, babie. Crud. Get your podcast catching ass in gear, okay?

So, Loki… are they going to pull a fast one on us and have the TVA end up as the bad guys? If you think that’s a spoiler, read the title of this post again. No spoilers here, unless we’re talking about Fear the Walking Dead. I’ll spoil the shit out of that dumpster fire (no I won’t). Those of us who are still watching deserve it. Masochism, babie. Masochism.

I need to play guitar this weekend. I need to cut the grass, but I need to play guitar. Do you get where I’m coming from? While I need to watch the new Rick and Morty episode this weekend, I need to play guitar. Yeah, you’re picking up what I’m putting down.

Okay then. Back to work, fat boy. Back to work.

HomePod Mini

I have an old Sonos speaker in my bedroom/office. I’m listening to an episode of the StarTalk Radio podcast through it as I type this. It’s too old to support Apple’s AirPlay so I have to use the Sonos App. It’s fine for the most part. I can run AppleMusic through it, but not Apple Podcasts. I had to setup Stitcher in order to play podcasts through the speaker.

The lack of AirPlay has meant that I have always wanted to upgrade to something newer so that I could just play my iPhone or my iPad directly through the speaker.

Along with the old Sonos speaker in the bedroom, we have additional Sonos speakers in the living room, and in the office proper. Our home theater system is all Sonos. Those are all newer models that support AirPlay.

We also have an Apple HomePod in the living room. It’s a great speaker, but more often than not the Sonos is the go-to when we want to play music through a speaker.

Yesterday Apple had their media event for the new iPhones. The iPhone 12 Pro Max looks awesome. That’s not what really caught my attention though. The standout to me was the new HomePod Mini. Not because of anything it does, but because of the price.

Given my interest in upgrading the speaker in the bedroom/office.. the original HomePod sells for about $300. The Sonos One runs for about $180, and the Move costs about $400.

The new HomePod Mini costs $99. That’s interesting. It does exactly what I want it to do, and it ties into my existing system, and it’s a lot cheaper than the alternatives.


Musical Stuff

Band practice was a bust last night.  Mike’s bass was slightly damaged during his cellar flood a couple of weeks ago.  It’s in the shop.  We are hopeful it will survive, but maybe a little part of us is also hopeful that it won’t survive and he’ll be forced to buy that Rickenbacker 4001 he’s been dreaming of since high school.  I brought my cheapo-ebay special Squire P-Bass so he could use it if needed, but my bass is actually in worse shape than his.  Playing in tune was out of the question, so we sat around for two hours throwing out ideas for new songs to cover.

I was listening to a podcast on the drive home tonight.  It’s put out by the fine folks at CD Baby and it’s called DIY Musician Podcast.  The topic this week is, Is your age an obstacle to music success.  I guess, and the podcast agreed, that the answer to that question depends on how you define success.  Is success being able to make music full time?  Is success being able to tour the world?  Is success being able to bang groupies while doing blow off a passed out hooker’s behind like an 80’s hair metal band?  Not for me.

If I get to define what success is for me, then I am an unbelievably successful musician.  I’m a couple of weeks shy of my 46th birthday and I played four gigs in the last year.  That’s more than most of my bands played during their entire lifetime back during my 20’s.  If I remember correctly, the next gig will tie Lizardfish for the most gigs ever played by any band I’ve been in.  Break Even played five.  I’m really stretching my memory here, but I think the band I played in in High School might have done eight or nine.  However, four were with the one main line up.  The four or five others were with variations on that lineup.  The band Mike and I had with Maria the drummer as well as a number of different singers was by far the best band for my taste as it was the only one that was all original, but it only played two gigs.  El Pez Lagarto has played four gigs since I joined, and has three more booked.  That’s amazing to me.  In my eyes that makes us supremely successful!  Now if we could just start doing the occasional original song.  That would be icing on the cake.

I am going to start mic’ing up the room during band practices again and trying to make decent sounding rehearsal tapes.  I haven’t mentioned it to the band yet, but I think I might want to try recording a show as well.  All the more reason to start slipping in original songs.  How about an EP of original music titled, Live at Racks: Bootleg.  I see a hit in our future.  Now I just need to get those songs written and rehearsed and my little idea for recording a show needs to be practical and the band has to go along with it.  No problem.  (yes, problems.  everywhere problems.)

Steve Hackett has a new album.  It’s on Spotify.  After me posting all of my crappy songs back in February, here is an example of what a real guitar player sounds like.